I considered 4 of these bills, passed or reported, as forming a system by which every fibre would be eradicated of antient or future aristocracy; and a foundation laid for a government truly republican.
The repeal of the laws of entail …
The abolition of primogeniture…
The restoration of the rights of conscience …
the bill for a general education…
To these too might be added, as a further security, the introduction of the trial by jury
Patrick Lee’s Explanation
Honest leaders despise privileged and guaranteed status.
We have dealt with these provisions individually in the preceding posts. Here, Jefferson summarized them and explains their importantance. They will:
1. Eliminate any past or future aristocracy (some more equal than others)
2. Found a “truly republican” government (where all are created equal)
The heart of these four provisions:
1. Entail repealed – prescribing by law that property will be kept in just a few hands
2. Primogeniture abolished – an entire estate having to pass to the first born
3. Rights of conscience guaranteed – dis-establishing the official, tax-supported church
4. General education provided – publicly funded for all boys and girls (though not slave children)
He recommended a fifth protection, trial by jury, taking some legal authority away from the courts and entrusting it to juries of one’s peers.